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Disease-resistant oysters the end goal for VIU prof’s research

A Nanaimo professor is studying how to make farmed oysters more resistant to ocean bacteria.

Dr. Andrew Loudon is working at the Deep Bay Marine Research Station along with Vancouver Island University’s Canada Research Chair in Shellfish Health and Genomics, Dr. Timothy Green. They are working to find out if exposing oysters to bacteria when they are in their larval stage will make them more resistant to diseases as they grow.

Loudon’s assistants are also helping with the research.

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He says breeding oysters to be more resistant to stressors and diseases will increase the yield for shellfish farmers, which also increases local food security.

They are specifically studying the Vibrio bacteria, which causes high death rates in farmed Pacific oysters. The bacteria can also be harmful to humans, who can get vibriosis by consuming raw or undercooked shellfish.

Loudon received a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grant of $165,000 distributed over five years to pursue his research. He also received a Discovery Launch Supplement, a grant for early career researchers, of $12,500.

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